Affordable Private Islands for Rent
By Tanner Garrity / September 12, 2019 6:32 am

Five or six years ago, I received a photo from a childhood friend who was on vacation with a group of friends in Portugal. He was flashing deuces with one hand and holding a drink in the other. In the background were a yellow mansion, a pool and a lemon tree. He told me, clearly pleased with himself, that each member of his group was only paying $62 a night to stay on the property.

That was one my earliest understandings that Airbnb — and home-sharing, in general — had changed the game. Listings once denied to the hoi polloi, in some cases literal castles, were now affordable if you had enough friends with just enough money.

We’ve extensively covered the network of listings offered by Airbnb and its home-sharing acolytes VRBO and Homeaway, from vintage campers to converted windmills, but we’ve never written about the most ridiculous stay you can get your hands on: private islands. It is very possible, and in many cases even cost-effective, to rent an island for a few days. It boils down to the nature of the private islands on offer. A majority of the world’s private islands are tied to resorts, owned by cruise liners, or simply too far off the grid for easy access. Those listed on home-sharing sites, though, are inherently more accessible, and way more affordable.

The domestic leader in this category is Florida, and your best bet internationally is Belize (each place features in two listings below), but you’ll find private islands available for rent in all sorts of places, like the western coast of Scotland, or Hancock County, Maine. They’re often a bit of an adventure to get to, but the renters do an excellent job of detailing the how-to beforehand (we only selected well-reviewed listings); many of them will even send a boat to take care of your to and fro.

Whatever the situation, you’re looking at several days somewhere exceedingly quiet, where wifi is going to be spotty at best, for prices not unlike that $62 nightly rate that wowed me all those years ago. Find 10 of our favorite private islands listed on home-sharing sites, below.

FORT MORGAN CAY
Fort Morgan Cay, Honduras

TROPICAL RETREAT
Longboat Key, Florida

THE LIGHTHOUSE COTTAGE
Davaar Island, Scotland

LITTLE PETER OASIS
Hopkins, Belize

LANGHOLMEN PRIVATE ISLAND
Fræna Kommune, Norway

EASTER SISTER ROCK ISLAND
Marathon, Florida

PRIVATE HEAVEN
Placencia, Belize

WATCH ISLAND LODGE
Clayton, New York

FLORAL ISLAND RESORT
El Nido, Philippines

SPRUCE ISLAND
Stonington, Maine